SPARKS, NV – Wool is considered a high-integrity fiber. It is widely used for insulation in countries like Australia and Britain, but here in the U.S. it is a niche market. For that reason, Andrew Legge, owner of Havelock Wool in Sparks, is trying to spread awareness about his product.
“Wool has been on the backs of sheep for thousands of years protecting them from the elements; hot and cold, wet and dry. Essentially, our basic message is that nature does it better,” he says.
Legge has the material imported from New Zealand, which is one of the top producers of wool in the world. Once it arrives at the facility in Sparks, it is then sent through several machines to be broken down. It will either take a small round form or be stretched into blanket-type layers. Finally, it is packed into 25 pound bags and prepped for shipping. Legge says using wool for insulation has its advantages. For one, it handles moisture well, meaning it will last longer.
“At 65% relative humidity, wool will actually take moisture in and put it back out relative to what’s going on in the ambient air,” he says.
Wool is also self-extinguishing, so it is naturally safe and won’t cause problems if a fire were to break out.
“We’re not using any halogenated bromide chemicals as a fire retardant,” says Legge.
While wool is on the higher end of the scale when it comes to price, there are markets that are showing a lot of interest. For example, schools and hospitals on the commercial side, and builders of custom homes.
“You’ve got a lot of discerning clientele that are starting to pay attention to what is in the building materials that they’re using,” says Legge.
Legge says he hopes to expand his company beyond the west coast, but for now, he’s happy with the reception he’s received in the Silver State.